The events in Charlottesville, Virginia a few weeks ago were truly fascinating. When plans were laid to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from the town, a spew of protesters, white supremacists, and Nazi's (yes, the very thing America strives to not be and already defeated once) showed up to stand up for the statue. The rest, as we unfortunately know, got very ugly as counter-protesters arrived.
A car was rammed into them causing one death, and many, many were injured along the way. There was the entire thing with Trump where he clearly was on one side but didn't want to admit it until the entire country had painted him a Nazi, and ensuing debate over who was in the wrong (it should be quite obvious who's in the wrong).
But this article is not about those events specifically, but something deeper, something I simply cannot understand. What I am talking about is, in 2017, why people still support and sympathize for the Confederacy. There's much that needs to be said, so let's dive in.
I really really try to not get involved in political arguments on Facebook. Mostly because the people who post idiotic, senseless, illogical things that are completely wrong will never change their minds about anything at all.
Also they are usually adults/older people who you would think would know better, but actually do not. I find it a waste of time to burn a bridge with an acquaintance over the factually incorrect thing they posted on their social feeds because they'll never change their mind, and presenting facts to them only makes them angrier.
So I usually just unfriend or mute them, and move on with my life. But sometimes I really can't help it, when the post is so incredibly wrong I can't help but drop some actual intelligence and let them know my opinion. If you can share your opinion, surely I can let you know mine, right?
Well about a week ago I got into an argument with a person I went to high school with but really haven't spoken to in years, and it was concerning the events in Charlottesville. But then it took a hard turn to the Civil War and here I was arguing with someone who was born, raised, and lived their entire life in CINCINNATI, OHIO, and they were defending the Confederacy.
They (and their mother, or cousin, I really don't know who it was) were rambling on about states' rights, and how it wasn't about slaves and how these statues aren't racist and really just a lot of uninformed bullshit.
For someone who hadn't been in a classroom for 3 years to try and tell me to "read a book" and "find the facts," I was utterly astonished at how dumb this person was. So here I am, ready to drop some facts on all of you people who still think the Confederacy is something to celebrate.
1. The Civil War was about slavery
I can hear their angry screams now, "it wasn't about slavery! It was about states' rights!." Well you're partially correct. The states' rights to... own slaves. The documents of succession from 5 different states, including the first state to secede, South Carolina, (which can be read in their entirety here: https://tinyurl.com/mjlcavc) all include slavery in their reasons for secession. Here's a few excerpts from Mississippi's, "it" referring to the Constitution.
"It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion"
"It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst."
"It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction."
Yep . . . they didn't care about slavery alright. They literally wrote in their declaration of secession that they feared the Constitution would give African-American's more equality, would deny right of property of slaves, and would refuse the expansion of slavery.
So sounds to me like they cared an awful lot about keeping slaves against their will and making sure people of color did not get rights. If you don't believe me, please go read for yourself. In 1863 once Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the war was undoubtedly about slavery when the South resisted and continued to fight until 1865.
Was states' rights part of the secession? Yes. But it cannot be denied that the South waged war over their right to keep slaves. So please, racist people who don't believe history, get that through your head.
2. But the North had slaves too!
Yes, you have a point, but for about 60 years less than the South did. The first abolishment of slavery started in 1777 with Vermont's state constitution. By 1804 in fact, all states had abolished slavery within their borders. Now this didn't stop slavery in totality in the North, but it prevented any new slaves from being introduced.
Some stopped pretty quickly, and others more gradually. So yes, the North did not stop cold turkey, but their governments actively worked to eliminate slavery and as of 1804, they could not indoctrinate any more slaves.
Another big point, slaves could be FREE in the North. There's a reason they were trying to escape the South and cross the Ohio River. The North offered freedom, rights, an actual life. The South did not, and never would until the Federal Government beat them and forced them to.
To try and equate slavery in the North and the South is just ignoring history. By trying to make that argument you are admitting that "yes slavery is really bad, but the North was doing it too so it's okay!" Not only is it a false point, it's entirely uneducated.
3. The racist beliefs of the Confederacy did not die with the Civil War.
A lot of Confederate sympathizers want to ignore just how racist the South was for nearly a hundred years after the Civil War. Although the Confederacy was utterly dismembered and taken control of by Northern forces, eventually the extremely racist Democrats at the time (not the democratic party you know today) took back control of the Southern state governments at the tail end of the Reconstruction Era in 1877.
From then until 1965, 88 years in total, the South was intensely racist against blacks. Their disgusting beliefs from the Confederacy did not die, and to some, they are still alive and well today. Jim Crow Laws pretty much segregated all of society and put blacks in a deep crater they could barely get out of until the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks destroyed those barriers.
It wasn't until the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act in 1965 that the instituted government racism in the South was taken down. Although they weren't slaves anymore following the Civil War, black people's lives only got marginally better as they were constantly belittled by whites, hunted down by groups like the KKK, and segregated from society for decades. To this day, they still suffer from racism, especially when it comes to issues like police brutality.
4. The Confederacy was a rogue nation responsible for over 350,000 American deaths.
For a lot of Southerners, they take deep pride in their Confederate flags. They find them patriotic and American, when they are quite literally the exact opposite. The Confederacy was incredibly un-American.
They seceded from the Union in hopes of creating their own country, they were a rogue nation and they were considered insurrectionists and rebels, today they'd be called homegrown terrorists. It wasn't until they surrendered that Lincoln pardoned them and acknowledged them as Americans again.
The Civil War resulted in over 350,000 deaths on the Union side, with 100,000 of those coming in direct combat. Why anyone supports a country that killed American soldiers, over 100,000 of them, is beyond me.
The moment they seceded from the Union and did not abide to the Federal Government anymore, they were no longer American, or part of United States of America, and thus were fighting against the very country you live in right now.
It is no different than Japanese, British, German, Vietcong, ISIS, or Terrorists killing American soldiers in the past or today. They were the enemy of America, but apparently that is something to celebrate, because it's "heritage." Because of their need for slavery (see point 1), it led to over 700,000 deaths across both sides of the war. That is not something to celebrate.
5. No one cares about your "southern pride."
First of all, if you were born and raised in Ohio, I have no idea why you're sticking up for something you were never a part of and have absolutely no connection to. Second of all, for all the southern people out there who claim the good ol' Star and Bars stand for Southern Pride, let's take a second to understand what you're prideful of. Is it because you broke off from the Union in some act of defiance?
Because it ended up ending the lives of over 700,000 people along the way. Are you proud of the fact the South fought to preserve slavery? Is it to celebrate the time of immense racism in which White people ruled the South and kept a boot to black people's throat for over 80 years? If it's not any of those, then please, PLEASE try to explain this to me.
And don't even try to tell me it's a symbol of "states' rights" because it's not. The Confederacy was born out of wanting to keep slavery instituted. And the South lost, in case you forgot, they surrendered.
That man you are touting around in bronze surrendered because he realize HE HAD LOST. You're waving around the flag of a racist, American-killing, rogue, loser nation. I didn't know this was what Southern Pride is, but I'm glad to know now.
6. Here's a new word for you: Empathy.
What infuriates me more than anything with these Confederate lovers is that they fail to understand anyone else's perspective other than their own. For some reason their weak brains cannot comprehend why a black person can look at a Confederate flag, figure, general, or anything associated with them, and be offended.
When a black person sees an image that memorializes and honors a nation that enslaved their entire race within their borders, they can't help but think "why the hell is this okay?" Why is it okay to celebrate and honor the Confederacy?
There is not a single reason to other than to record the events of its existence for history. So for you Southern sympathizers out there, just take one second and try to look at things through someone else's eyes.
During the Confederacy's existence, your ancestors were never in danger unless they were fighting in the war (that they started). They were never enslaved, never knowing when they'd feel an ounce of freedom. It historically equates to something like the Holocaust, which is illegal to deny in Germany.
You cannot say the Holocaust didn't happen in Germany or you'll be thrown in jail. You also cannot have any Nazi imagery or any imagery of Hitler, because it will be destroyed and you will be put in jail. Germany understands what happened, but wants to distance themselves from it as much as possible to make sure something like that never happens ever again.
And they have immense respect and honor for those hurt and affected by the horrendous tragedy, not the evil people behind it. For some reason it's not like that here. For some reason the Confederacy is something to celebrate and honor. The lack of empathetic people who still support the Confederacy is so utterly ignorant and just inhumane. Think of another human being other than yourself for once.
I'm not sure if there's anything else to say. If you support the standing of Robert E. Lee statues or the Stars n' Bars, I can't quite understand the logical perspective you're using. I'm all for recording history and remembering what happened. But we do not celebrate hate in this country. If you're still against me, maybe you should remember who was on your side in Charlottesville: